Diet & Weight Magazine

The Relationship with Your Personal Trainer

By Molly @MKPappas

As a personal trainer, I’ve heard it ALL. Ask any personal trainer at my gym, or gyms around the country, and they’ll all agree that we hear some pretty cringe-worthy, my-eyes-just-rolled-so-far-back-into-my-head-I-had-a-seizure, comments come out of our clients’ mouths.



No matter what type of client I work with – young, old, fit, overweight, lazy or motivated – the complaints and concerns are all the same.

1. “I don’t want to use those weights, I’m afraid of getting bulky.”  – Dear LORD, if I had a dime for every time I heard someone say this, I could retire right now, go live somewhere tropical and never have to hear that phrase uttered again. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one for luck. So let me address this one head on – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TURN INTO A SHE-HULK. You would need to be doing a lot more than lifting the 15 lb dumbbell I just gave you to bulk up like that. It takes a tremendous amount of energy for your body to build muscle. Females do not have enough testosterone (the main muscle-building hormone) to bulk up like that, nor do they tend to consume enough calories to PROMOTE that type of muscle growth.

2. “Can we just focus on my abs? I want to lose the weight there.” – No, no we can not. You can not spot-reduce fat. It just doesn’t work that way. So when I make you do a HIIT workout or total-body free weights and you get mad at me because I’m not listening to you, just remember I know what I’m talking about (you, like, PAY me for this).

3. “I don’t want to do this exercise. Can we try something else?” – I’ll let you in on a little secret…the second you tell me you DON’T want to do a specific move or don’t like it, I’m going to add it to your future workouts. Why, you ask? Partly because I’m a masochist, and partly because I’m guessing you don’t want to do it because you aren’t good at it. What makes you good at something? PRACTICE. Don’t utter “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” around me; I store that info in my brain like it’s a Swiss bank vault.

4. “I don’t get how I’m not losing weight! I only eat Greek yogurt for my breakfast!” – When I hear comments like this, I don’t even usually need to see a food log; I already know part of your problem. If you are only eating Greek yogurt (or insert some ridiculous food that doesn’t quantify as a meal here), you’re not eating enough. Period. The idea of consuming MORE calories perplexes a ton of people, but I’m telling you. Eat more (of the RIGHT foods) and you’ll lose weight. If you don’t eat enough, your body goes into “starvation” mode and stores/holds onto fat for dear life, thinking it needs to protect itself for a future of not getting enough nutrients. You are doing far more harm than good here. To put it in perspective, I eat 5 to 6 meals a day (1 meal every 3 hours). Do I look fat? No.

5. “I’m not seeing any progress. Nothing is changing!” – Says the person who has one session a week with me. What are you doing the other 6 days when we’re not meeting?! I’m not a magician. I can only do so much for you with the time we have; you are responsible for the rest.  Trust me, if I could control every other aspect of your health and fitness, my Type A personality would have a field day. But, it’s hard to keep someone accountable when you have no idea what they’re doing when you’re not with them. Our training is just ONE piece of the puzzle; if you’re not ready to do any other work, the training I do with you is pointless (beyond that it’s helping me pay for my nutrition schooling. Thanks!)

6. “I’m going on vacation in a few weeks and I want to lose 10 lbs.” - Ok. Do you plan to live in the gym until then and do a complete overhaul of your diet? I didn’t think so. This is not a quick fix. If you starve yourself or do something drastic to lose the weight for an “event,” the second you start eating like normal, you’ll gain it all back, plus some. The idea that the weight they’ve spent the past 28 years putting on should just melt off in 2 weeks is deluded.  You shouldn’t be so concerned about what you’re going to look like in a bikini in 2 weeks; what you should be focused on is putting a priority on your HEALTH. I can’t beat that concept into your head (as much as I’d love to). I mean, I get it. I panic a little at the idea of “OMG, I’m going to be on a beach in a few weeks, in front of PEOPLE, and they’ll probably think I’m a beached whale laying there on my towel and roll me back into the water.” But I’m also not in a position where I want to, or need to, crash diet because I don’t base my need to lose weight or be healthy on a vacation/reunion/wedding coming up. This ‘switch’ in how you think about your health is honestly one of the best lessons I can teach you. I’ve had clients come in, FINALLY getting it & I may or may not have ugly cried out of pure joy.

Seriously, this list could go on & on. But because I’m developing an eye twitch just listing them, I’m going to stop here. I know you’ve got more to add (whether you’re a personal trainer or not), so let’s hear ‘em!

Things You Should Never Say to Your Personal Trainer

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